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CareerBuilder Leadership Series: Spotlight on Carl Albright, CEO of InfoCision

“Our employees are the heart and soul of our business and the reason we continue to enjoy prosperity and growth.”

In the following excerpt from CareerBuilder’s recent interview with Carl Albright, CEO of InfoCision, Albright reveals, among other things, his leadership philosophy, the impact people have on his business, and how a first-grader gave him his greatest leadership lesson.

WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY AS IT RELATES TO PEOPLE AND THEIR IMPACT ON YOUR DAILY BUSINESS?
Join us at any employee of the month ceremony, and you’ll hear the same sentiments time and again:  “I love it here,” and “I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.” These sentiments come from a very simple philosophy on which InfoCision was founded over 28 years ago: People make a difference. InfoCision’s vision is to be the highest quality direct marketing provider of the 21st century. “Commitment to Excellence” underscores our uncompromising commitment to quality and integrity. “Whatever It Takes” reflects our willingness to go above and beyond. These two simple ideas define how we interact with each other, our clients, our vendors/partners, and anyone else we come in contact with.

HOW DO YOU ENGAGE WITH AND RELATE TO YOUR EMPLOYEES?
Engaging employees is a top priority for InfoCision, and frequently telling our employees how they each generate value and help the company is key. Daily, we work hard to break down barriers that can hinder communication. We maintain and promote a true open-door policy, creating an atmosphere of mutual trust. At every level, we encourage open communication, feedback and discussion.  I personally attend our 30-plus call center employee of the month ceremonies, providing a company update and short- and long-term outlooks. During these town hall-style meetings, employees are free to ask any question, and I always give an honest answer.

WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT LEADERSHIP LESSONS YOU’VE LEARNED?
The most important leadership lesson I’ve learned didn’t come from a book or mentor; it actually came from my son. Both he and his brother play sports and have the potential to be very good athletes. One day I asked my oldest, who is in first grade, why he thought his friends liked him – fully expecting him to say it’s because he’s good at sports. But instead, he said it’s because he’s nice. When I asked him again, he said it’s because “I let the girls play kickball with us.” When I asked him once more, he said it’s because “I roll the ball slowly to Petey, who has a hard time kicking the ball.” I was really proud of his answers, because just like in business, it comes down to giving the ultimate effort…and being humble.

HOW DO YOUR EMPLOYEES AFFECT YOUR BUSINESS, PARTICULARLY AS IT RELATES TO CLIENT SERVICES?
By creating an award-winning workplace, we are able to attract, retain and motivate top-performers. The fact that they enjoy their jobs and feel valued comes across in their daily interactions. The result is a higher ROI for our clients and a competitive advantage for us.  Our employees are the heart and soul of our business and the reason we continue to enjoy prosperity and growth.

HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR OVERALL TALENT STRATEGY A PRIORITY?
First and foremost, we strive to make sure our employees feel that InfoCision is a place where they can create a fulfilling career for themselves. Employees are free and encouraged to seek out new roles within the company. In fact, four executives started on the phones, and I started out as an assistant call center supervisor. In 2002, I created InfoCision Management Corporate University to provide a clear path for advancement and the training and development needed to succeed – all at no cost to employees and all on company time.  We have the best talent in the industry – truly talented and innovative professionals – and our continued growth is a reflection of that. Our staffing levels grew by 14 percent in 2010, and in 2011 we’re projecting a 10 percent increase.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO RALLY THE TEAM AND REINFORCE YOUR EMPLOYMENT BRAND?
Our business is about building relationships, and InfoCision has a unique view of the relationship world. Having been a teleservices company for close to three decades, we have expanded into a full-service, multichannel marketing partner. Technology, coupled with the struggling economy, has changed the way marketers are forming and maintaining relationships. But one constant that has always risen to the top is to deliver an extraordinary customer experience.

WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU SHARE WITH YOUR EXECUTIVE PEERS?
Choose a marketing partner with experience. Advances in technology have made it feasible and cost-effective for most companies today to develop one-to-one marketing strategies. Many consumers are using communication channels interchangeably – e-mail, text, phone, online. This can pose a challenge for marketers, because you want to be able to ensure a consistent brand experience no matter what the channel. By improving the quality of their experience, customers will form a stronger bond with your organization and, as a result, increase your profit potential.

ABOUT CARL ALBRIGHT: As President and CEO of InfoCision, Carl Albright oversees all aspects of the company’s day-to-day operations. A 20-year veteran of InfoCision, Carl started his career as Assistant Call Center Supervisor and working his way up to fill such roles as Director of Telemarketing, Senior Vice President of Call Center Operations and Chief Operating Officer. Since Carl took over as President, InfoCision has experienced 50 percent growth, and is now the second largest privately held teleservices company, operating 34 call centers throughout Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Carl has also revolutionized InfoCision’s benefits by investing over $1 million dollars in employee health and wellness programs that include on-site physicians and clinics, fitness centers, child care centers, health fairs, and numerous company-sponsored wellness and fitness programs.

ABOUT INFOCISION: Our clients are the household names most Americans know and depend on. As a leading provider of contact center solutions, we serve many verticals – from technology and pharmaceuticals to financial services and telecommunications – and provide inbound and outbound marketing for nonprofit, religious and political organizations. No matter what market, we help establish brand, build customers, create marketing strategies and integrate teleservices into the marketing mix. Our customized core solutions can be deployed individually or combined to create a multichannel strategy that includes inbound and outbound teleservices, direct mail, fulfillment, e-mail, e-commerce, and business intelligence, to name a few. Headquartered in Akron, Ohio, InfoCision operates 34 call centers at 13 locations in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia and has more than 4,200 employees. For more information, visit infocision.com.

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.
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